Trudy M, our stupendous Saturday barn staff, has been spending some time grooming Nova during the past few months while she has been in recovery from her spay earlier this year. We have given Nova some time off, and while her expectations for work have been low, she has still been getting her itches scratched with Trudy’s help. Here is what Trudy has to say about Nova and their time together:

Have you ever met a horse that captivated you from first glance? Where you can’t take your eyes off them when they move out freely in a field and you look forward to every small interaction with them? That is Nova for me.  

I met Nova three and a half years ago when she was still being referred to as one of ‘the fillies’. She has outgrown that title long ago now, as a well grown, long-legged and muscular mare, who I once watched clear a six-foot wide bank of tires to reach the hay bag she wanted most, because going around is for wimps. This spring, Nova has been recovering from surgery. Each weekend, I’ve offered to ease her recovery with a few choice scratches. This girl cannot resist a good scratching. 

As she has physically recovered from her spay surgery, we have been watching carefully to see how she would recover emotionally. Would we get to see more of that sweet Nova we remembered from before her cycles began? Would her volcanic moods even out without her brain being repeatedly flooded with intense bursts of hormones? So far, so good. She is no longer striking out at the slightest touch. Women who’ve had a particularly intense cycle and whole body wrenching cramps may be able to relate to how a light touch in those moments can feel like the jab of a hot poker. Nova is beginning to remember that touch can be very pleasant. 

She has eagerly accepted grooming from nose to tail, leaning into the particularly itchy spots under her mane, between her front legs and along her back. If I’m scratching just right, she’ll even bend her long neck around my body and gently massage me with her lips, just as she might with another horse in a herd.

She contorts her body to press into the brush. Nova is not a fan of light touch, she’s more of a deep pressure kind of gal. She likes to be brushed firmly, to really feel the bristles through her coat. If I find just the right spot and brush just the right way, she makes the most ridiculous faces.